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Bookeeping for different industry sectors

Are some sectors easier to do the bookeeping than others? 

Note I am not talking about simple one man band type businesses but ones employing a few people who maybe want their bookeeping doing.

Eg I would characterise retail and leisure/hotel/restaurant as quite difficult due to the need to reconcile cash takings and also keep tabs on credit card receipts. Most software packages need a bit of adapting in respect of the latter.

Also construction industry clients due to the need to process CIS both in respect of customers and subbies paid by the client. This I find a real chore tbh, with all the deadlines and opportunities to cock-up.

Conversly I find both service industry and wholesale clients pretty easy as its just sales ledger, purchase ledger and salaries.

Any other partuicularly good or bad industries?

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09th Feb 2013 09:40

My views

My practice is limited to the service industries because they are easier and the businesses are usually small.

I have found that retailers and restaurants don't seem to care about getting things right and expect low fees. Maybe it's because they are used to paying low wages.

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09th Feb 2013 10:04

what about builders peter ?
Do you get decent money for dealing with CIS?
I am on the verge of telling construction firms they need to get a bookeeper if they want me to act.

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09th Feb 2013 10:48

I don't deal on a day to day basis

The clients who are on CIS are only subcontractors or people who prefer to do do their own CIS returns. I would expect it would be difficult getting a reasonable fee for the work required.

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09th Feb 2013 11:10

Shops are easy

Retail doesn't have to be hard.  I've got a large convenience store client and these days, the "books" couldn't be easier.  I drafted up a daily cash reconciliation sheet which the client has to fill in at the close of business, with the till's Z report stapled to it.  It takes the client five minutes to complete it and the sheet and till report give me all the information I need, which I get my secretary to input onto a spreadsheet, and hey-presto, all sales/cash information at my fingertips which I can then use to tick against the bank statements (for bankings and credit card receipts), and also a fully analysed record of sales between the different VAT rates and also analysing out the lottery income, top up cards, etc.  The key is to get the raw data at source.  If the client wouldn't do this, then I wouldn't act.

Done exactly the same with a few guest house clients which were also a pain until we got some proper organisation at the front desk.  Now the cash is easy to balance, no problems with credit cards, and the job takes a fraction of the time each year.

You'd be surprised at how receptive some clients can be once you spend some time with them on site to show them what to do and once you give them either a paper control sheet or a spreadsheet that they can fill in.  Over the years, I've had several new clients come from other firms who've complained that all their accountant ever did was take away all the "books" and then present them with a huge bill and whinge about what didn't balance and what was wrong - never giving any suggestions or showing them how it should be done.

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09th Feb 2013 11:30

Problems

"I drafted up a daily cash reconciliation sheet which the client has to fill in at the close of business, with the till's Z report stapled to it.  It takes the client five minutes to complete it and the sheet and till report give me all the information I need"

Yes, I've done that. Unfortunately, people will produce the wrong till report or do it at the wrong time. It can take ages to teach them and then the work is given to somebody else and we have the same problem all over again!

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